UX Case Study: Handling Offline for Impatient Users

I recently came across a blog post on inVision listing the most influential UI animations of all time (Inside Design by inVision). On the list, it starts out with a flashing cursor and a command-line interface from 1967, and includes AOL login screens from 1995, and the iMessage “is typing” chat bubbles. Many of the examples listed in the post were invented to communicate the state of the system’s side to users. The flashing cursor indicates that the system is waiting for a user to type something. The AOL animation tells users to be patient because the system is trying to connect to the internet through a slow phone line, so please enjoy the animation and think about how exciting the internet is.

The blinking cursor from 1967 (Source: Inside Design by inVision)
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Is the chatbot a hype of the past? What are the key takeaways?

Why did people get excited about chatbots?

Facebook debuted its Messenger bot platform in April 2016, and Google announced its Google Assistant in May 2016. During this time, I was on the team that launched The Wall Street Journal bot, which partnered with Facebook, and I witnessed how people’s expectations got so inflated.

Unlike regular mobile apps, users can interact with these bots in chat interfaces. It is an easy-to-understand metaphor for how AI (artificial intelligence) is becoming so human-like. People imagined themselves interacting with these bots just as if the bots were their friends and families.

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Get Users Onboard with Your Push Notifications

Push notifications are an essential tool for bringing users back into apps. According to Invesp, sending push notifications can boost app engagement by up to 88%, whereas 65% of users return to an app within 30 days when push notifications are enabled. Push notifications can contribute to app retention rates up to 10 times more than apps without them.

iOS apps require asking users to opt-in for push notifications, unlike Android apps. Push notifications are significant for apps to re-engage with their users; without them opting in, apps can only wait for users to come back on their own, and they never do for most apps. If they say no to the initial request, the app cannot show the same request again. Those users would then have to open their iOS settings app and go through cumbersome steps to turn notifications on.

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Extra-gamified: why are some apps so satisfying?

According to Statista, an average of 6,140 apps were released in Play Store everyday in the first quarter of 2018. Yet, 77% of users never returned to the app after 72 hours of installing it. What makes some apps stick so much better with users than others?

Gamification and a psychology behind Tinder

Satisfying Tetris Game (Image source: imgur)

Gamification is, “the craft of deriving all the fun and addicting elements found in games and applying them to real-world or productive activities,”

Yu-Kai Chou, an author of Actionable Gamification
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FACTS | Rideshare and the Future of Transportation

2019, 2018, 2017, 2016


11/06 2019

Didi – relaunch Hitch carpooling service this month

  • in seven major Chinese cities (Beijing, Harbin, Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Shenyang, and Nantong)
  • with additional safety features (after murder)
    • Only allow trips under 50km
    • Only in metro areas between 5am and 8pm for female users (Male until 11pm)

11/05 2019 – The Verge

Uber – thinks it’s a ‘good thing’ for cities, but cities are having second thoughts

  • Researchers from New York University’s Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management profiled 13 major markets
    • All cities are either regulating or planning to regulate these companies
    • Most cities require ride-hailing companies to submit trip data
    • Adding taxes to trip
      • New York City – a $2.75 per-trip fee in the city’s congestion zone
      • Mexico City – 1.5 percent per-trip tax on ride-hail trips (emission tax)

10/30 2019 – Washington PostWashington Post

Lyft – taking the human judgment out of critical safety decisions – banning drivers

10/28 2019

Lyft – replaces pricey All-Access monthly plan with Lyft Pink

  • Lyft unveiled $299/mo plan last year
  • Lyft Pink costs $19.99/mo
    • 15% off on all car rides
    • 3 free bike or scooter rides / mo
    • More flexible cancellation policy
    • No lost&found fees

10/28 2019 – The Verge

Uber Eats – new look for its food delivery drones

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We Need App Reviews, but We Need to Ask at the Right Time

Effective Measures for ASO

The new app review prompt introduced in iOS11 (Source: iMore)

When it comes to downloading a new app, very few people ignore the reviews. According to Apptentive’s user survey, 90% of users take app ratings into account and 79% also pay attention to the reviews; 4 out of every 10 people consider reviews to be more important than recommendations from friends. Just as reviews are important for the ranking of products on Amazon.com, visibility of apps in both Apple and Google stores are also strongly affected by reviews. Apps have to be good in general, but it is crucial to think about when and how to gain more positive reviews for ASO (App Store optimization).

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Slack goes from kooky chat room to imperative corporate pipeline

Since email became the major communication channel in the 1990s, the centralized inbox where users can access all of their conversation history literally also became the work communication hub. Decades later, emails are much more populous and filled with spam and marketing newsletters; the centralized inbox has become a symbol of unproductivity. Slack, the workplace group chat application, has been said to be email’s replacement.

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Bookmarking the internet: How Pocket & Pinterest started and will survive

Just as Google search has made it easy for users to find the right content on the internet, Pocket and Pinterest are letting users organize this content based on their interests. Both of these companies’ missions are to boost the potential of the internet. While their products were enticing, almost romantic, as they came from the early internet period where users and developers shared abundant optimism, I didn’t have a strong understanding of their business models; I only had a vague expectation that advertisement would play an important role, just as it did with Google. In this entry, I wanted to explore how the development of their business models has influenced their products.

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Nike gives us its NYC House of Innovation 000: After a decade of brands conceptualizing digital shops

Image source: Fashion Network

Last week Nike opened its Innovation store in New York City about a month after its first ever Shanghai store was opened. The store is full of attempts, some to respond uniquely to the function of brick-and-mortar retail space in today’s landscape by dissolving online convenience and offline experience. A lot of attempts at experience stores have been made after Amazon started to sell more than books and DVDs about a decade ago. As I follow this topic, I wanted to visit the store and see if I can witness the Nike version of the answer.

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Interactions in Material Design

Image source: What exactly is this so-called ‘Material Design 2,’ and what will it look like? | 9to5Google

Material Design, introduced by Google in 2014, had been my go-to place to reevaluate the design languages in my projects because of its use of metaphors from the physical world. The appearances and properties in the physical world, including how depths or layers are expressed through light and shadow to feedback that makes sense when interacting to physical objects, inspire rules of Material Design. In Material Design, graphics have to be intentional; motions have to guide users to focus on elements and reinforce how these elements will transform or reorganize as they are intended.

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